From building luxury cars to making cricket balls, from running postal services to producing factory equipment, automation is the order of the day – but the solution has to be tailored to the business.

Automation and the human touch: Lexus

Volume car makers are highly automated, but even luxury marques whose value depends on manual build and hand-crafted interiors rely on automated processes for their vehicles’ development, manufacture, and drive controls. The distinguishing features and customised finish that make a car individual, however, are still rendered by the hands of super-experienced craftspeople with skills unmatched by machines.

Lexus runs some of the most advanced vehicle manufacturing in the automotive sector, but in many areas of its design and finishing the human touch prevails – such as in the development of car shapes. Digital rendering enables designers to experiment with shape, line, and surface, says Lexus chief designer Tadao Mori...

Robert Heaton